The Four Noble Truths

The Buddha offered many teachings to help people end their suffering, the first and most important being the Four Noble Truths.

The First Noble Truth is that all of us have suffering in our lives.  None of us can escape it.

The Second Noble Truth is that we can identify the causes of our suffering.

The Third Noble Truth is that we can put an end to our suffering and that healing is possible.

Finally, the Fourth Noble Truth is that there are paths to free us from suffering. We can cultivate our well-being by concretely applying mindfulness to our daily living.

A simple example from the field of medicine can help illustrate the Four Noble Truths.

Let’s say you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (First Noble Truth), which was likely brought on by eating a poor diet and becoming very overweight (Second Noble Truth).

Your doctor tells you the situation does not need to be like that and can be controlled 9confirming the Third Noble Truth).

You follow the doctor’s prescription – taking your medicine, eating better, and exercising more – which is your route to healing (Fourth Noble Truth).

These teachings of the Buddha originate from a time when suffering was more likely to be caused by a lack of food rather than too much, or by a body overburdened with physical labor rather than one grown ill from lack of use.  Yet they apply to all forms of suffering.

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Source: Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh

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